Efforts to tackle cybersecurity workforce shortfalls abound, but few in the community question that the core solution lies in early exposure and expansion of education opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math.
William (Bill) Butler, chair of Capitol Tech’s Cyber and Information Security Department and
director of the Center for Cybersecurity Research and Analysis (CCRA), recognizes that fact – focusing not just on a quality curriculum for students enrolled, but ensuring cyber gets a fair shake among students in primary education and that students gets hands on experience beyond the classroom.
“Dr. Butler has been a champion of quality cybersecurity education and training programs long before it was en vogue, having created one of the top cybersecurity degree programs in the country that blends theory with the hands-on application of tactics, techniques, and procedures,” said Casey O'Brien, executive director & principal investigator at the National CyberWatch Center. “Bill has worked hard to bring awareness to the myriad opportunities for up-and-coming professionals, has led summer camps for high school students, and serves the academic community vis his research and participation in the [National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity].”
Butler fostered partnerships with Charles Flowers High School, a Maryland STEM magnet school, and the Washington D.C. chapter of Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization focused on providing educational coding opportunities to young African American girls. Through the former, faculty from Capitol Tech have offered high school students two eight-week asynchronous courses and a two-semester senior project equivalent to six academic credits in the field of critical infrastructure. The partnership with Black Girls Code has provided members of the organization the ability to attend Capitol Tech’s Cyber Saturday events, where Butler offers his professional expertise to attendees and answers attendee questions in real-time.
Within the university, he champions Capitol Tech’s Cyber Lab and Security Operations Center, where students across majors learn techniques used by real threat actors and create solutions to mitigate them. The Cyber Battle Team, which welcomes students of any major and experience level, also uses the Cyber Lab to practice scripting web applications and cryptography skills for cyber competitions.
Beyond his role as student education, Butler serves as a conduit between academia and national security to education and recruit talent – working with the National Defense University, Military Cyber Professionals Association, and Cyber Security Forum.
“Dr. Butler can be counted on to lend his knowledge and time to the cause of getting the best cybersecurity skills and knowledge to our next generation, but also to adult learners seeking to reskill or upskill, said Armando Seay, director of the DreamPort Cyber Mission Accelerator and co-founder of the Maryland Innovation & Security Institute.